Belief in His Goodness

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“When I went to college, my desire for acceptance and affirmation from my dad and peers shifted to seeking affirmation from guys in my life. This created a deep codependency. I felt like I needed to earn the approval of men to be loved by them. I developed many behaviors in search of the acceptance of others. I attended church throughout college, but the contrasting parts of my life made everything feel messy.

“Although I landed my dream job as a teacher, I still felt so lost. In this new season of life, I became friends with a married couple. Our growing friendship and lack of boundaries led to an affair with the husband one weekend while the wife was out of town. Now, I can see that my need for acceptance was taken to the extreme. I remember feeling so empty after, and thinking, ‘This is something I will never tell anyone.’

“I sat in a lot of guilt and shame for a long time about the affair. I was running and hiding with this lie. I was so sad, and though it wasn’t clear to me, it was abundantly clear to those around me. One of my coworkers who recognized my sadness recommended I check out Watermark.

“I got involved at The Porch and found many new friends, but I was so worried about them finding out about my past.

“When asked if I’d considered re:generation, Watermark’s biblical recovery ministry, I honestly thought it wasn’t for me. I didn’t need recovery. I created this façade even to myself that I was doing fine. My secret was wearing me down.

“After three friends casually suggested re:gen, I decided to attend. I thought I didn’t struggle with anything, but I couldn't even form words when asked to tell my story. I reluctantly returned the next week, and the Lord immediately started pulling back layers to show me how I needed Him.

“When I finally confessed my adultery, no one even flinched. They didn’t respond the way I expected. They simply responded with grace. It was the first time I believed the gospel to be true for me. Previously, I thought my mistakes held me back from God’s love.

“That was a defining moment for me. Confessing my sin and trusting God still loves me was life-changing. It was the first time I didn’t need anyone’s approval. The discipline of confession exposed to me my sin struggles of misplaced identity, insecurity, and pride.

“The first part of my story was finding my identity in Christ, and the second part seems to be walking out what I believe as the storms come. As I walked with the Lord, the focus of my faithfulness was more about abiding in the Lord. At 38, I married my husband, Justin, and later gave birth to our son, Noah.

“The last five years of my life have been filled with grief through the loss of family members, concern in a health scare, heartbreak through two miscarriages, waiting, and then joy as we adopted two more boys, Elijah and Levi, into our family. Through it all, the Lord has strengthened my faith even more. But there is no question that it’s been hard and refining. I’ve had to ask myself, ‘Do I really believe what I say I do? Do I really believe that God is good? Am I willing to follow what the Lord is asking of me?’

“I’ve found deeper intimacy with the Lord through the hard seasons because I clung to Him in a new way. Jeremiah 17:7-8 says, ‘Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water that sends out its roots by the stream and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.’

“Before Christ, my life felt dark, but now I see that it will be better and can be better! I feel sustained and upheld even in the hardest of circumstances.

“When I think of moms and my own experience as a mom, there is a general consensus that we all have to hold it all together, keep up, and be enough. And a deep exhaustion comes with that. But moms, you’re not alone.

“God’s Word and His Spirit will carry you through. I walked through singleness into my thirties without being surrendered to God and His Word, and a lot of sin came from that. I was trying to do life on my own, but once I found my identity in Christ, I realized I could just live freely!

“I’m so grateful for the time I spent in the Bible over my life, especially before I got married or had kids. My foundational knowledge of Scripture has been a stronghold for the circumstances I would face later in life. The richness of God’s Word will carry you through and keep you anchored. I don’t have a pithy statement, just a reminder to abide in Him.

“Sometimes, I wonder, what could be next? But because of Christ, I am not afraid. Hard things in life have led me to know and believe in His goodness. I know there may be more grief and tragedy ahead, but God knows what is coming, and I can find peace in that because I can’t fathom how much He loves us!”